As a hospital administrator, you always want to make sure that your IT is keeping complete pace with crucial services your patients need. Keeping on top of these tasks can be time-consuming, however, and you can't always immediately identify innovative ways to employ new technology.

But you can update your IT strategies with your team using the following science-driven info, and your patient safety goals will be met more effectively than ever:

Employ scrupulous records coordination for patient transport.

Case Western Reserve University researcher Andrew Reimer found that patients transported by flight from a local hospital to a higher-level care facility had a 30% higher risk of death, possibly due to lack of complete patient records exchanged between hospitals and conveyed to flight crews.

Make sure your systems are completely coordinated and updated. Also, ensure that your medical flight crews and your paramedic crews can seamlessly convey all necessary patient info once they arrive at the transfer hospital.

Use cloud-based data to predict epidemic trends.

Research led by Mauricio Santillana at Boston Children's Hospital used cloud-based electronic health record data combined with historical local patterns of illness and an algorithm to successfully predict flu infection trends.

You can employ a similar strategy in your hospital by using cloud EHR data and trends you have reviewed from the last flu season at your facility to get a potentially life-saving snapshot of how flu tends to unfold for your patients. Compare several years’ worth of data to get the most accurate picture.

Separate storage of patient demographic and financial data from EHRs.

Not only will this give treating doctors an instantly clearer picture of a patient's health status, but it can give you a leg up when it comes to containing privacy breaches.

A new study from John Jiang at Michigan State University found that 70% of breaches compromised ID and financial info, not HIPAA-sensitive condition-related data, so splitting up your storage means you can quickly target any data area specifically and work to contain specific problems right away.

Constantly work to streamline the EHR updating process.

A new Yale University study led by Edward R. Melnick found that doctors spend one to two hours on EHR notation for every hour they spend with a patient — and most of the work they do in this regard has to do with billing, not care.

Work to separate medical and financial questions in ERs and allow doctors to delegate financial coding to their on-site office staff whenever possible. This allows your doctors to better focus on care and safety, not red tape.

Ask for input.

Hold regular feedback sessions where your care teams can express IT concerns regarding patient safety, offer suggestions, and brainstorm solutions.

Teamwork and perspective are the best way to enhance the smooth operation of technology at your hospital. Utilize your staff's expertise to garner the best results.